'All Friends Around
The Wrekin', backed by Shropshire Wildlife Trust, had entered a bid of less than
half the £500,000 asking price. The original bid was rejected in September,
while a slightly improved bid was also rejected in January.
Heritage Lottery funding was set aside - established by the District Valuer to
represent the commercial value of the land. The funding was only secured on the
condition that the trust wasn't allowed to exceed the lottery's valuation of the
126 acre site.
Meanwhile, in an attempt to raise the full £500,000,
the owner has decided to split the site into eight separate plots - to be sold
The lots range from 5.61 acres (2.27 hectares) to 37.298
acres (15.094 hectares).
The 126 acre slice at the centre of the sale
has been in the Holt
family for 200 years. The relatively small portion in question doesn't
include the summit.
November, Shropshire Wildlife Trust bought the one acre Forest Glen site at the
bottom of the Wrekin.
The land, in a poor condition at the time of sale,
could provide better parking for both the Ercall and the Wrekin, as well as potentially
room for display boards and toilet facilities.
The Forest Glen land had
been owned by the Miras Group (who owned Telford United Football Club), but then
transferred to the receivers after the group's collapse.
The Wrekin is
strictly protected by legislation - designated (among others) as part of an Area
of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI),
and A Scheduled Ancient Monument.
More about The Wrekin
hill is arguably the most distinctive landmark in Shropshire.
have compared The Wrekin with Ayers Rock (or Uluru) in Australia... And, while
that might initially sound a crazy idea, there are a few similarities...
it rises to only 1,334ft (406.6m), the surrounding countryside is flat enough
to allow the hill to dominate the landscape.
It can be seen for miles
around, and for a homesick Salopian returning home on the M54, it's the first
sight he/she has of Shropshire.
It's also easy to understand why some
people declare an almost spiritual connection with the hill.
So what do we know about The Wrekin?
It's formed from some of
the oldest rocks in the area, including lava and volcanic ash. However, it isn't
an extinct volcano, as popular belief would have it.
The Cornovii tribes
established a hillfort on The Wrekin in the 1st Century AD, before the Romans
arrived and drove the Celts out.
Later on, the hill was part of a huge
Norman hunting forest, which originally stretched as far Newport and Shrewsbury.
Today, trees on The Wrekin and The Ercall are all that remains of a forest once
inhabited by wild pigs and other quarry.
The Normans referred to the
hill as Mount Gilbert, after a local Hermit.
During the 19th Century,
wood from the Wrekin was converted into charcoal for use in the glass industry.
More recently, JRR Tolkein (author of 'The Lord of the Rings') used to enjoy
walking on the hill when he lived in nearby Penkridge.
It is claimed
that The Wrekin provided the inspiration for 'Middle Earth' - The view certainly
bears more than a passing resemblance to 'The Shire'. Who knows you might even
spot a Hobbit or two from the summit!
Unsurprisingly, legends and folklore
abound. One of the most popular is the tale
of the Wrekin giant, who set out to flood Shrewsbury but was foiled by
a cunning cobbler - Read
The Wrekin still contains some beautiful ancient woodland and has been declared
both a 'Site of Special Scientific Interest' (SSSI) and 'An Area of Outstanding
Talking to BBC Radio Shropshire's Michael Howell, current
owner Peter Holt explained that a buyer would also essentially have to be a custodian,
dedicated to looking after the site.
As an important part of both National
and Shropshire heritage, there would be little opportunity to develop the property.
Acting on behalf of the agents FPD Savills, Tony Morris-Eyton didn't rule
out a possible purchase by a group such as The National Trust or English Heritage.
The large section up for grabs is a 126 acre section on the Telford
side - an area accessible to the public. It could be yours for £500,000.